Al East

Spring Training 2000

February 16, 2000|By JOE STRAUSS


Manager: Mike Hargrove

1999 record: 78-84, fourth place

No. 1: Will a renovated bullpen -- and scrutinized closer Mike Timlin -- respond to more careful handling?

No. 2: Mike Mussina, Mike Bordick, Charles Johnson and Cal Ripken are pending free agents. Will majority owner Peter Angelos switch to a proactive negotiating tack?

No. 3: Can nonroster arm Pat Rapp emerge as fifth starter and vanquish the ghosts of Shawn Boskie, Rocky Coppinger, Doug Drabek and Scott Kamieniecki?

No. 4: Jerry Hairston or Delino DeShields, who's on second?

No. 5: Is this the year Mussina, Scott Erickson and Sidney Ponson mesh for 50 wins?

Boston Red Sox

Manager: Jimy Williams

1999 record: 94-68, second place

No. 1: Can Derek Lowe succeed as closer in Tom Gordon's absence?

No. 2: Can Williams continue to be an effective buffer between the front office and clubhouse?

No. 3: Which international prospect -- Juan Pena, Jin Ho Cho or Tomokazu Ohka -- will hold together the rear of the rotation?

No. 4: Does third baseman John Valentin have anything left?

No. 5: Might the brothers Martinez combine for 40 wins?

New York Yankees

Manager: Joe Torre

1999 record: 98-64, first place

No. 1: Is David Cone worth $12 million as a de facto fifth starter?

No. 2: Will the Yankees again produce four 100-RBI men without anyone hitting 30 home runs?

No. 3: Can the rotation survive without shifting Ramiro Mendoza from key middle-relief role?

No. 4: Will Torre become the first manager since Casey Stengel (1949-1953) to capture four world championships in five years?

No. 5: With Hideki Irabu gone, who's the punching bag for the Boss and Gotham media?

Tampa Bay Devil Rays

Manager: Larry Rothschild

1999 record: 69-93, fifth place

No. 1: Will EMTs be ready when the Tropicana Field rug eats up Vinny Castilla at third base nightly?

No. 2: Will anyone else on a defense that made 135 errors catch the ball?

No. 3: Will the "four DHs" -- Castilla, Jose Canseco, Fred McGriff and Greg Vaughn -- excite the shuffleboard set?

No. 4: Who among Wilson Alvarez, Ryan Rupe and Steve Trachsel will become the Rays' first 10-game winner since 1998?

No. 5: The Devil Rays led the Orioles on Aug. 31 last season. Can they last another month?

Toronto Blue Jays

Manager: Jim Fregosi

1999 record: 84-78, third place

No. 1: About $5 million over their $50 million salary budget, will the Jays trade David Wells?

No. 2: Can a healthy Joey Hamilton and Chris Carpenter compensate for the trade of Pat Hentgen?

No. 3: What's ahead for Billy Koch, who converted 31 of 35 save tries but had a 5.70 second-half ERA?

No. 4: Can promising third baseman Tony Batista make fans forget productive Tony Fernandez?

No. 5: With Shawn Green gone, where is the franchise headed?

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